Monday, February 8, 2016

BARU BIAN’S CHINESE NEW YEAR MESSAGE 2016


8 FEBRUARY 2016

The year of the goat has whizzed by. Last year at this time, I had hoped that the Goat would bring this country renewal, growth and balance, manifesting the positive elements of this astrological sign. I had hoped that like the nimble and agile goat, we would be able to climb the rocky and steep mountain of recovery from a troubled year of the Horse.

Unfortunately, the year has instead been marked by the negative elements of the goat. Destructive, vengeful, irresponsible and violent events as well as leaders have brought this country and her people to a new low. Corruption scandals, mysterious sackings and murders, the kidnapping and tragic murder of Bernard Then, new repressive laws, continuing religious and racial bigotry, a plummeting currency and economic uncertainty are among the events that have shaped the past year. Although seemingly ‘cleared’ by the newly appointed Attorney General, the Prime Minister and his 1MDB are being investigated by the authorities in Switzerland, Singapore and Hong Kong. This country has been dragged into the international spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

This year is an important year for Sarawakians, as the Sarawak Elections will be held soon. Sarawakians have experienced a huge awakening over the past 5 years of our history and of our rights that have been disregarded by the UMNO/BN government. Sarawakians have also awakened to the fact we have the power, through our votes, to bring change to this country. Sarawak has been the fixed deposit for the BN government for long enough. Too many years in power have made the UMNO/BN regime arrogant and completely corrupt.

This year of the Monkey is the perfect time to create change. The monkey is intelligent, energetic and enthusiastic. Let us harness these characteristics to fight for the improvement of this country before it is completely ruined by the ruling elites. In the face of tightening controls and the narrowing democratic space that we are experiencing, we must never forget that the people are the ones who hold the power. The situation may look bleak now, but a change may be just around the corner. Let us look forward with hope and faith that good always triumphs over evil. Always.

I wish all my Chinese friends a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

Xin Nian Kuai Le, Wan Shi Ru Yi!

BARU BIAN
Chairman, PKR Sarawak
ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan

  




Wednesday, January 27, 2016

BARU BIAN: AG’S DECISION AN AFFRONT TO OUR INTELLIGENCE


PRESS STATEMENT
27 JANUARY 2016
  
The Attorney General’s outrageous decision to clear Najib Razak of wrongdoing in spite of the purported recommendation by the MACC that he be charged with criminal misappropriation is an insult to the intelligence of Malaysians and a betrayal of the office the AG holds. Not that anyone should be surprised, given the circumstances of his appointment.

So many commentaries and comments have been made but there is only one conclusion if Malaysia is to be saved from complete and utter ruin. There are no two ways about it: Najib must go. For Najib to go, UMNO must go, and for UMNO to go, BN must go. Only then can we begin to rebuild this country with a new and clean administration. Only then can we appoint individuals with impeccable credibility and integrity to head our institutions and enforcement agencies, particularly the office of the Attorney General, who has the power to prosecute wrongdoers.

As long as UMNO and BN hold the reins in this country, we can debate and talk until the cows come home. Nothing will change except for the worse. We’ve had the Bersih rallies; we have former political leaders like Dr Mahathir, Rafidah Aziz and Zaid Ibrahim; we have NGOs, civil society groups and former top civil servants such as the GE25 calling for change and yet Najib Razak is unmoved, while the people continue to suffer. The economy has taken such a hard knock recently, and Tun Daim has said that the country is heading for bankruptcy. The long-suffering people will have to be prepared to face the brunt of it.

Many people in UMNO are silently angry and frustrated but they cannot or will not speak up. The self-serving UMNO leaders and ministers are not going to suddenly find their conscience and question their supreme leader. The only thing I can hope for is that some courageous person from the Saudi royal family will come forward to admit or deny the claim that the donation came from the late King Abdullah. However, even if it is admitted, with the current crop of law enforcement heads and prosecutors, we have no hope of holding the PM accountable for his misdeeds.

Ultimately, it is the ordinary Malaysian who has the real power to remove this ignominious PM from his ‘throne’. I urge Sarawakians to lead the way during the upcoming elections to say ‘ENOUGH!’ to UMNO/BN.

Baru Bian
Chairman
PKR Sarawak


Native Tribunal will ensure swift redress for the marginalised

Monday, 25 January 2016

BY SHARON LING

KUCHING: The relevant authorities should heed the call by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum for a Native Tribunal to hear land cases, says state PKR chairman Baru Bian.

Baru said a specialised tribunal or court would go a long way towards easing the burden of indigenous people in Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, whom he described as among the most marginalised and disadvantaged communities in the country.

“Their socio-economic position has remained more or less static over the last 50 years. Those who have had their lands taken from them require swift redress but that is often not the case in the present court system.

“Court hearings take a long time, with frequent adjournments. The indigenous people often have to travel long distances to attend court and there are often problems due to the dialects spoken,” he said in a statement.

Malanjum had said on Friday that a land tribunal should be established as Sabah and Sarawak were still burdened by native customary rights (NCR) land cases which took a long time to deal with.

“Last year in Sarawak, there were 20 new cases registered. Sibu and Kuching recorded the most with seven cases each while Miri and Bintulu each received three cases. The total disposal last year was 20, leaving 28 still pending,” he said when opening the Sabah and Sarawak Legal Year in Sibu.

Baru pointed out that Malanjum had been calling for a Native Tribunal to be set up since 2012 while the Bar Council, also in 2012, had called for a specialised Indigenous People’s Court to be established.

“In 2013, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) recommended that a Native Title Court and an Orang Asal Land Commission be set up to look into and hear cases involving native rights.

“I have voiced my support each time this subject was raised and I have also brought this up in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly,” he said.

As such, he said it was disappointing that despite this, the Attorney-General and Chief Justice had remained silent on the matter.

“I hope Dayak Barisan Nasional leaders in Sarawak will come out to support Malanjum’s call,” Baru said.

~ The Star

BARU BIAN: CJSS’S REPEATED CALLS FOR NATIVE LAND TRIBUNAL MUST BE HEEDED


PRESS STATEMENT
23 JANUARY 2016
  
The Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak has once again called for a Native Tribunal to be set up in Sabah and Sarawak to hear cases concerning native customary rights lands, which often involve lengthy hearings and many different native dialects.

The CJSS’s has been calling for the setting up of a Native Tribunal since 2012. Also in 2012, the Bar Council called for a specialised Indigenous People’s Court to be established. In 2013, the Human Rights Commission recommended that a Native Title Court and an ‘Orang Asal Land Commission’ be set up to look into and hear cases involving native rights. I have voiced my support each time this subject was raised and I have also brought this up in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly.

The indigenous people of Sarawak and Sabah, and also of Peninsula Malaysia are the most marginalized and disadvantaged communities in this country, and are often exploited by the powerful. Their socio-economic position has remained more or less static over the last 50 years. Those that have had their lands taken from them require swift redress, but that is often not the case in the present court system. Court hearings take a long time, with frequent adjournments. The indigenous people often have to travel long distances to attend court and there are often problems due to the dialects spoken. A specialized tribunal or court would go a long way in easing the burden of those that are involved in legal disputes.

Our commitment to restoring the land rights of the people is reflected in PKR’s 2013 Kuching Declaration and our 2015 18-Point Roadmap, in which we promise to set up a Land Commission and implement the proposals set out by Suhakam in their Report of the National Inquiry into the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

It is disappointing that despite repeated calls by the CJSS and statements by the Bar Council and SUHAKAM, the AG and the Chief Justice have remained silent on the matter. I would like to ask for some response from them, as this is an issue of timely justice for the native people of the land. Even more disappointing is the silence by most of the Dayak BN leaders in Sarawak. It is time that they speak up for the rights of their people, and I hope that they will all come out to support Tan Sri Richard Malanjum’s call.

Baru Bian
N70 Ba’ Kelalan

Note: Some references to our earlier statements:








Saturday, January 23, 2016

BARU BIAN: HADI AWANG’S STATEMENT A REFLECTION OF HIS IGNORANCE

PRESS STATEMENT
23 JANUARY 2016

I returned to Kuching from my constituency last night to the rude shock of reading the most insensitive, arrogant and unsubstantiated statement of Hadi Awang’s, which was reportedly published in Harakah, his party’s official bulletin. This is the classic example of a West Malaysian who has no knowledge of the history of the people of Malaysia, particularly Sarawak, and who has no interest in acquiring such knowledge. I cannot understand what he has to gain by making such hateful and bigoted comments except perhaps he is doing the bidding for UMNO because he certainly sounds like one of them.

To prevent further shaming of himself, I would invite Hadi Awang to read two books ‘Drunk Before Dawn’ by Shirley Lees and ‘Unchartered Waters’ by C.H. Southwell, both of which chronicle the stories of missionaries in Sarawak during the early 1900’s. The Lun Bawangs in Sarawak were reputed to be the most filthy and perpetually drunk people of Borneo, and in danger of extinction by self destruction, until the whole tribe was spiritually transformed by Christian missionaries in the space of 5 years. There was no promise of wealth and riches, only the promise of the goodness of life and the miracles of God. I am one of the descendants of these people, and I challenge him to prove that we were bought by money.

The majority of the population of Sarawak is Christian, and it is no coincidence that Sarawak is known to be the most moderate and harmonious state, compared to West Malaysia. It is in Sarawak that incidents of forced and surreptitious conversions by Muslims from West Malaysian are reported and highlighted in the media once in a while. What does Hadi Awang have to say to this, besides issuing a blanket denial, as is the wont of the BN politicians and Islamic authorities?

By making these ignorant statements, Hadi Awang has shown that he does not have the wisdom nor the foresight to be called a leader, whether it be in politics or religion. A real leader seeks to unite, whereas a ruthless and unprincipled opportunist seeks to cause division amongst the population. I do not claim to be an expert on Islam, but Hadi Awang’s words are an abomination of his own religion, and excusable only if he is proven to be suffering from senility or an unbalanced mind.

As usual, the Prime Minister and his ministers, who proudly and loudly sell this country internationally as a moderate and liberal Islamic country, are silent. If a Christian had said the same things about Islam, there would be uproar, turmoil, arrests and charges for sedition. I believe Hadi Awang’s statement provides a classic case for sedition but the leadership of Malaysia once again proves its failure as a government for all Malaysians.

Baru Bian

ADUN, N70 Ba’ Kelalan

Chief judge proposes tribunal for Sabah, Sarawak native land cases



Chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum today suggested the authorities consider the establishment of a tribunal to look into cases of Native Customary Rights land.

He said the courts in Sabah and Sarawak were burdened by NCR land cases which took a long time to settle.

"It is a tedious process involving many witnesses and many interpreters due to dialect problems," he said, adding that Sabah alone had over 45 known dialects while Sarawak had more.

Addressing the opening of Legal Year 2016 for Sabah and Sarawak at the Sibu Court Complex today, Malanjum said the members of the tribunal should include those knowledgeable in native land claims.

One option was to have a reconstituted Bumiputera/Native Court with judges familiar with native land claims and disputes. 

Twenty new cases were registered in Sarawak last year, with Sibu and Kuching recording the highest number of seven cases each, and Miri and Bintulu, three each.

Twenty cases were disposed of last year, with 28 still pending.

In Sabah, 10 new cases were registered last year with five still pending.

Malanjum said NCR cases involved not only legal issues but also cultural and traditional elements or dimensions where one had to be a historian, an anthropologist, a spiritualist and, at times, a semi-politician when dealing with them.

"If the latter two elements are ignored, the natives will be most unhappy and may even perform the 'Miring' ceremony in the court premises, and will not accept any decision of the court even though it may have impeccably followed the law," he said.

He also said the Native Court could be accorded the same standing as the Shariah Court and brought under the umbrella of Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution. – Bernama, January 22, 2016.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Improving institutional efficacy

Reflecting On The Law

Thursday, 21 January 2016


Our premier democratic institution is unable to fulfil many of its constitutional mandates.

AT the recently concluded Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth in Kota Kinabalu, a number of scintillating proposals were aired about how Commonwealth Parliaments can be reformed to serve the community better and to help improve accountability in government.

My paper, which was presented on my behalf by my Dean, Dr Haidar Dziyauddin, concentrated on the Malaysian situation.

It noted that due to the worldwide trend in parliamentary democracies of executive dominance of Parliament, our premier democratic institution is unable to fulfil many of its constitutional mandates.

The Malaysian Constitution invests our Parliament with the following primary functions: giving democratic legitimacy to the Government in power, enacting laws, controlling national finance, making the executive answerable and accountable to the elected legislature, representing the electorate, redressing constituents’ grievances, controlling the King’s emergency powers and approving the Election Commission’s proposals for new electoral boundaries.

The Dewan Negara has the additional functions of representing the states of the Federation and giving representation to minorities and marginalised groups.

This note will touch only on the Parliamentary function of controlling the legislative destiny of our nation.

Making laws: In constitutional theory, Parliament is the repository of the power to make ordinary laws, legislate against subversion and emergency, and enact constitutional amendments.

In practice the Cabinet dominates the legislative agenda, drafts the legislation, determines the timing and uses its majority to push Bills through.

What is most regrettable is that Bills are embargoed (kept secret) till they are laid for First Reading.

In theory the Dewan Negara can debate, delay and amend Dewan Rakyat Bills. In practice Senators speak courageously but vote timidly in favour of whatever is sent to them.

Eighty per cent of government Bills are passed without any changes whatsoever in either House.

The overall scenario is that Parliament merely legitimates; it does not legislate.

Executive dominance is illustrated by two further realities.

First, executive legislation under Article 150 by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong during an emergency can, in theory, be annulled by the Houses.

In practice, Parliamentary intervention is rare. For example, emergency laws promulgated after the 1964 and 1969 emergencies were annulled only in 2011.

The second significant development is the phenomenal rise of subsidiary legislation which outnumbers primary legislation twenty-fold.

In Malaysia, unlike in most democracies, there are no Parliamentary committees to scrutinise delegated legislation.

It is clear therefore that the centre of gravity of the legislative process lies in executive mansions and not in the storied halls of elected legislatures.

What reforms can be proposed to restore the constitutional scheme of things?

Openness: If Members of Parliament are expected to scrutinise, criticise and revise legislative proposals, they must be supplied in advance with the sponsoring Ministry’s White Paper to outline the aims and objects of proposed legislation.

Draft copies of Bills must be sent to Parliament at least two weeks before the beginning of the session.

If citizens are expected to give their input, the existing culture of secrecy surrounding Bills should be replaced with more openness.

There should be more pre-Parliamentary consultations with affected interests.

Select Committees: To save on Parliamentary time, important Bills should be committed to Select Legislation Committees of the Houses as is the practice in the United Kingdom.

These committees could sit either before or after the second reading of the Bill.
NGOs and concerned members of the public should be regarded as public benefactors and not busybodies and should be heard during the committee stage.

Decisions in which people participate are decisions they are likely to respect. A search of Parliamentary records indicates that since 1959, fewer than 10 legislative proposals were committed to Select Com­mittees. Among them were the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Bill 1984 and the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill 2007.

A Joint Committee on Subsidiary Legislation is long overdue.

Private Members’ Bills: Greater recourse to the procedures for Private Bills and Private Member’s Bills ought to be made to enable citizens’ groups and private MPs to initiate legislation.

One advantage of this legislative modality is that some necessary Bills which the Government shuns for political reasons could be sponsored by backbenchers and reach the statute book.

Dewan Negara: To lighten the legislative load of the Dewan Rakyat and to enable greater scrutiny of legislative proposals, some politically non-controversial, non-money Bills should originate in the Dewan Negara. This will require both Houses to sit concurrently.

Support structures: To assist MPs in their legislative and oversight functions, each MP should be assigned research staff and legislative assistants.

The Houses of Parliament should have their own legal counsel.

In the manner of the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) and the Judicial and Legal Training Institute (Ilkap), a Parliamentary Institute should be established to familiarise MPs with the Federal Constitution, train MPs in the law and procedure of Parliament and to hone their abilities to research, draft and analyse legislative and monetary proposals.

Enforcement of laws: Justice is not in legislation but in effective and fair administration.

All Bills should contain a clause to set up a Legislation Review Committee of distinguished and impartial outsiders whose job should be to monitor the working of the law and to report to Parliament periodically. Parliament must involve itself in the challenge and necessity of law reform.

Parliamentary sittings: There is a strong case for a drastic increase in the number of parliamentary sittings in one year. In 1981, the Dewan Rakyat sat for 78 days.

In 1993, it sat for 66 days. The Dewan Negara sat for a mere 26 days in 1993. This can be contrasted with the United Kingdom where during the years 1959 to 1984, Parliament convened for 172 days per year on the average.

Parallel sittings: The Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat has made a brilliant proposal that in the afternoons, the Dewan could sit in two parallel sessions.

Issues like emergency motions which cannot be taken up in the House due to shortage of time or non-compliance with Standing Orders could be heard in the parallel session. 
Likewise adjournment speeches. This brilliant reform will help accommodate some business that is presently rejected.

The hope is that with these reforms, Parliament’s institutional capacity to oversee the making of laws will be enhanced.


Shad Faruqi is Emeritus Professor of Law at UiTM. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

~ The Star

Nurul Izzah to fight JPA scholarship cuts in Dewan Rakyat

Published Today 3:31 pm

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has vowed to take to Parliament the cause of the students denied their Public Service Department (JPA) scholarships because of government spending cuts.

"Education is the government's primary responsibility. I cannot accept the continuous cutting of education expenditure like this. I will fight this in Parliament," Nurul Izzah tweeted today.

This was part of a series of tweets the PKR vice-president has sent out on the reported suspension of JPA scholarships and Education Ministry bursary financing to top performing students.

"The 700 students affected are our future. The country needs them. Return the JPA scholarships to the students immediately, Najib (Abdul) Razak!" she continued, tagging the prime minister in another tweet.

Nurul Izzah said that cutting educational expenditures when facing financial problems caused by failures in management is "an irresponsible act", and urged the government to restore the scholarships and financial aid.

She pointed out that the amount of money required to pay for the education of the 700 or so students - whose ability to further their education are being affected by the cuts - is not that much if compared with what is being wasted elsewhere.

"If RM500,000 is needed for (each of the) 700 students, it’s only RM350 million. It is not much compared to government leakages. Return the funds. Where is the RM4 billion?" she tweeted further.

Her mention of the RM4 billion hinted at new allegations that more money has flowed into the PM's personal accounts than the RM2.6 billion that Najib previously admitted.

However, this has no direct bearing on the matter at hand.

Country needs more intellectuals

Nurul Izzah stated that the country needed more thinkers and intellectuals, who can be groomed from the bright students who were supposed to be sponsored by the bursary.

"Return the funds to JPA, (and) to them (the students) immediately!" she tweeted.

Yesterday, Sin Chew Daily reported Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Wee Ka Siong confirming the slash in JPA scholarships, after raising the issue at the cabinet meeting yesterday following complaints he received from students.

Wee (photo) said he had asked the Najib to rethink and reinstate the scholarships, and that the PM had ordered the JPA and the chief secretary to the government to come up with an alternative to forgoing this year's disbursements.

The government decision has alarmed students due to receive JPA scholarships - many of whom will start their freshman year next month - as well as garnered brickbats from students, parents and netizens alike.

Faced with shrinking revenue with the Brent crude oil price having fallen to a 12-year low yesterday at US$27.78 a barrel, almost a quarter of what it was when oil prices reached a high of US$114.81 a barrel in 2014, the government has been struggling to balance its spending.

Najib has also announced that the Budget 2016 would be revised to adjust for falling revenue and see government expenditures optimised. The budget revision is due to be announced on Jan 28.


Expect more retrenchments across the board, says HR minister

Published Today 8:46 pm

Malaysia will see more retrenchment across the board as its industries recoil from the ripple effect of falling petroleum prices, said the human resource ministry.

As reported by Sin Chew Daily, its minister Richard Riot said that more retrenchments will be expected in the new few months due to the continual drop in Brent Crude prices.

Speaking at a press conference after attending an industrial court forum in Kuching today, he said that the situation borders on the very serious.

Richard explained that the expected retrenchment in Malaysian industries is the result of the chain reaction created by the fall in oil prices.

“In the next few month, retrenchment levels will be very serious, it may not even turn for the better until next year,” said the minister.

Richard added that the retrenchment will not be limited to the oil and gas sector, as it will hit related services and industries, including the banking sector which will have to deal with the repercussions of dropping oil prices soon.

Asked if his ministry have any data on the projected retrenchments, Richard said that there is no solid numbers yet in the interim.

Queried if the government has a plan to step in and assist those who are going to lose their jobs, he said that it is a complicated question, as the government cannot force employers to re-hire those laid off.

“If employer can’t afford the salary, how are they going to hire employee?” he said further, adding that the only thing for those retrenched to do is continue looking for another job.

ILO forecast bleak employment outlook

He also reportedly took a swing at deputy minister Ahmad Maslan's infamous second job statement, saying that for those retrenched, finding a new job is difficult enough, much less to land a second job.

News reports have speculated that national petroleum company Petronas is looking to lay off some of its 50,000 strong work force, as the oil giant struggles to consolidate its operations as its revenue took a dive following falling oil prices.

According to reports, the same bleak forecast has been predicted by the United Nations labour agency ILO yesterday, when it called for urgent steps to boost the job market, forecasting higher unemployment in the two years to come.

According to its 2016 projections on world employment and social outlook trends, the labour agency said the global jobless numbers is estimated to rise by about 2.3 million to 199.4 million jobless worldwide from 2015 estimates which stood at 197.1 million.

While an additional 1.1 million jobless is expected to join the ranks of the globally unemployed in 2017.

If the world failed to boost the jobs market, ILO warned of intensified social tensions and adverse economic effects.

But more than just the lack of jobs, the labour agency posited that the problem is also in the lack of job quality as well as income equity, with low employment standards and salaries impacting quality of life and increasing social tension.

As reported, ILO Research Department director Raymond Torres said that the unstable economic environment associated with volatile capital flows, still dysfunctional financial markets and the shortage of global demand will be the core factors adversely affecting enterprises as well as deterring investment and jobs creation.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bersih joins anti-TPPA protest, vows bigger crowd than Bersih 4

 Geraldine Tong

Bersih will join the protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

The chairperson of the electoral reform movement, Maria Chin Abdullah, vowed that the turnout would be bigger than Bersih 4, which saw tens of thousands taking to the streets last August.

"Bersih 2 supports the anti-TPPA protest and urges all supporters of the Bersih 1, 2, 3 and 4 rallies to join us at Dataran Merdeka on Saturday.

"Malaysians must fight against any attempt, foreign or domestic, to challenge the sovereign right of the rakyat to determine our future," Maria said.

"This will be a much bigger crowd (than Bersih 4)," she later added.

The anti-TPPA protest, organised by NGO coalition Bantah TPPA, has already garnered support from opposition parties such as PAS and PSM, which are mobilising their members to take part.

"We welcome the support from Bersih," Bantah TPPA deputy chairperson Azlan Awang told a press conference in Petaling Jaya today.

Among those in attendance, other than Bersih officials, were representatives from National Human Rights Society (Hakam), Tenaganita and Institute Rakyat.

Azlan (photo) said the coalition is hoping for a massive turnout at the three-hour protest, which will commence at 2pm.

He also revealed they have given the police notice of the protest 10 days in advance, as required by the Peaceful Assembly Act.

He said the organisers met with Dang Wangi district police chief Zainol Samah twice, and promised there would be no march.

"The police are mindful of events that might lead to undesirable situations, so we will cooperate with them," he added.

'Refrain from marching to Dataran'

Therefore, Azlan advised any group that planned to march to the protest site at Dataran Merdeka to refrain from doing so.

Meanwhile, Bantah TPPA is still trying to obtain permission from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to use Dataran Merdeka for its protest.

However, Azlan said, the organisers have planned activities during the protest, such as speeches from prominent political figures and NGO leaders.

The TPPA is a multinational free trade agreement in which the United States is a main proponent.

Apart from Malaysia, other countries involved in its secretive negotiations included Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Mexico and Canada.

Critics fear that the TPPA would wipe out local businesses, as well as threaten Malaysia’s sovereignty due to a clause allowing foreign corporations to sue the government for actions that result in loss of profits.

Parliament will debate on whether or not to sign the pact during a special two-day session of the Dewan Rakyat on Jan 26 and 27.



Read more: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/327421#ixzz3xg8jTcPG


Fourth-quarterly electoral roll on display

Bernama 

The 2015 fourth quarterly electoral roll which lists the application of 103,508 new voters and change of address of polling stations is on display in 964 locations nationwide from tomorrow until Feb 2.

Election Commission (EC) secretary Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh said the registration applications involved 82,146 registration of new voters and 21,362 applications for change of polling station's address from registered voters.

He said applicants, whose names were not listed in the electoral roll, could make claims by using the Form B while registered voters who wanted to object the names of anyone in the 2015 fourth quarterly electoral roll could do so by completing the Form C.

"An individual can object not more than 20 persons.

"The Form B and Form C must be submitted to the Registrar (State EC director) for the registration area concerned on a work day during the time the electoral roll is displayed," he said in a statement in Putrajaya today.

Abdul Ghani said the objection must be substantiated and not with intent to deny the right of citizens to register as voters or belittling the role of the EC in the registration of voters.

During the display period, he said, EC also displayed the names of voters who would be removed from the electoral roll due to the applicants not residing in the constituency concerned, not being Malaysian citizens or had died.

Hence, he urged all applicants who had registered from Oct 1 until Dec 31 last year to check their voter registration information.

The revision can be made through the EC website at or by calling telephone line 03-8892 7000, he said.

- Bernama

Monday, January 18, 2016

Christian leaders to meet Najib today over conversion issues, security law


BY DEBORAH LOH, NEWS EDITOR

Published: 18 January 2016 7:00 AM


Christians are a minority in Muslim-majority Malaysia, at under 10% of the population, and today, a few of their leaders are meeting the prime minister to raise a number of contentious issues. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, January 18, 2016.

Christian leaders from their national umbrella body will meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today for a closed-door discussion on various issues of concern, including conversions and the National Security Council (NSC) Bill passed recently in Parliament.

This is according to a leaked email sent to members of the Christian Federation of Malaysia’s (CFM) executive council, which was sighted by The Malaysian Insider.

Among those meeting the prime minister are CFM chairman Rev Eu Hong Seng, Rev Datuk Bolly Lapok, who is Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Southeast Asia, Bible Society of Malaysia president Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing and Catholic Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang.

 CFM comprises three national Christian bodies – Catholic Bishops Conference, Council of Churches Malaysia and the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship.
Sources in CFM declined to confirm the email.

However, another source confirmed the meeting, saying it was a “periodic meeting” which the prime minister would hold with Christian leaders and other interest groups.

“It is just a periodic meeting that Christian leaders have with the PM,” the source said.

Others also expressed concern that news of the meeting might draw negative reaction from other groups, given the racial and religious undercurrents which have flared up in multiracial Malaysia in recent years.

No media will be present at the meeting, according to the leaked email.

Among the items to be discussed are Putrajaya’s policy on Christian pilgrimages to Israel, with which Malaysia has no diplomatic relations.

Malaysia, however, has in the past allowed Christian groups to travel there with permission.

Another topic listed is the case of Hindu kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi, who recently lost her bid to quash the unilateral conversion to Islam of her three children by her Muslim ex-husband.

The issue of conversion to Islam also covers Christians in Sabah and Sarawak, where it is allegedly carried out in boarding schools.

The recently passed NSC Bill and rising cost of living were other items on the proposed agenda, according to the email.

Christians are a minority in Muslim-majority Malaysia, at under 10% of the population.

While interfaith ties in Malaysia have been largely peaceful, certain issues have flared up, causing distrust between religious groups in recent years.

These included the Christians’ legal battle to use the word “Allah” for God, alleged conversions by both Muslims and Christians of each other, and disputes arising over child custody, deaths and burials in the case of those who converted to Islam without their families’ knowledge. – January 18, 2016.

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/christian-leaders-to-meet-najib-today-over-conversion-issues-security-law#sthash.MR8hul2j.dpuf

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

BARU BIAN: CM, WHAT IS YOUR REAL STAND?


PRESS STATEMENT
11 JANUARY 2016

On many occasions I have tended to agree with the Chief Minister’s statements pertaining to the rights of Sarawakians but I find his latest jibe at the opposition in the matter of keeping out Semenanjung Malaysia based parties rather insincere and silly. He is taking such delight in gloating over his ‘clever’ reply in the recent DUN sitting that I hate to burst his bubble - but necessity compels.

Firstly, although the Chief Minister has not said so, he does not have the power to restrict the registration of UMNO or any other political party in any part of the federation under the laws of Malaysia. He is conveniently letting the public labour under the misconception that he does have such power.

Secondly, it is common knowledge that for his own political expediency, he cannot allow UMNO to come into Sarawak as the state BN is ruling the state in the form of PBB and its partners. Allowing the powerful UMNO into Sarawak would dilute his influence within the state BN and loosen his control over the state. By saying ‘not allowing’, we mean that there is an understanding between the state BN and UMNO that as long as PBB and its partners hold the majority of seats in Sarawak, UMNO will not set up officially in Sarawak.

In the case of Sabah, when BN proxy PBS withdrew from BN 5 days before the 1990 general elections and went on to win 14 out of the 20 seats, Dr Mahathir immediately sent UMNO into Sabah. It is clear that as long as the Sarawak BN proxies remain meek and mild, and continue to welcome their visiting top UMNO leaders with tight embraces, UMNO will not set up shop here. After all, UMNO does not need to do so as they are effectively ruling the state through their PBB and other BN proxies. To keep them happy and loyal, the extra incentives for the state BN’s parties include 7 ministerial and 3 deputy ministerial posts in the PM’s cabinet (PBB 7, PRS 2, SUPP 1).

The Chief Minister has been riding high on the Sarawak for Sarawakians sentiment for many months, echoing the unhappiness of Sarawakians over the failure of the BN federal government over the past 50+ years to safeguard our interests and facilitate the development promised. However, he has proven to be ineffective. When asked to declare the fact that Sarawak has no official religion, he remained silent, perhaps for fear of offending his leaders at the United Malay National Organisation.  Our demands for increased oil royalty and the recognition of the UEC were rejected, and the use of the English language was met with either criticism or a deafening silence from the BN politicians. It is rather pointless to ask Sarawakians for 5 more years when it will be 5 more years of just being ignored.

The burning and relevant question for the Chief Minister is this: given that we have been sidelined and exploited by the federal BN government for half a century, and given that his voice has been embarrassingly unheard by them, is he willing to gather up his remaining gumption and leave the BN coalition? Will he be brave and bold and have the PBB stand on their own against the exploiters of Sarawak and Sarawakians? He will have to make his stand clear very soon. Failing which, please stop this nonsensical debate of stopping UMNO and Semenanjung based political parties from coming to Sarawak.

The pertinent question for all Sarawakians is this: Who are the politicians who first reminded Sarawakians of their forgotten rights that were guaranteed under the Malaysia agreement? Who are the politicians who have been fighting for the rights of Sarawakian and Malaysian natives?

It is the opposition, especially PKR that has fought for Sarawakians, in particular for our natives’ rights, among which are the rights to their customary land known as the “pemakai menoa” and “pulau galau” concepts for the Dayaks and “cari makan” land for the Malays. These concepts have clearly been rejected by the Chief Minister and even by the native BN leaders in Sarawak. Why pretend to be champions vis-a vis the Federal Government when at home, you refuse to recognise our rights to our lands and our livelihood? This is the most basic and fundamental right, which has been declared to be equivalent to the right to life by the Courts in this country.

So, the issue is not about making the opposition look stupid in DUN, it is about these questions which the Chief Minister has to contemplate and iron out in his mind. He has to make his stand clear. If he wants to be the champion of Sarawak for Sarawakians against our exploiters the Federal BN politicians, he cannot continue to associate with them and embrace them so fervently. He cannot have his cake and eat it too.

Baru Bian
N70 Ba’ Kelalan